Merit Pay for Principals Prompts Questions

August 16, 2011  |  

(Chicago News Cooperative) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a plan Monday to award merit pay to Chicago Public Schools principals who perform well on a new set of evaluative metrics as critics questioned whether the program will lead to gains in student achievement.  The performance rewards—which may be based on student test scores, school climate and leadership skills, among other factors — are part of an overhaul of principal preparation and evaluation at CPS. They will be paid for over the next four years by a new $5 million fund created through charitable donations, Emanuel said. The district plans to implement a similar incentive program for teachers, he said.  “You can’t throw merit pay out there like a Hail Mary pass,” Emanuel said, emphasizing that the effort to upgrade principal performance will also include targeted recruitment, training and mentoring.  Performance pay for teachers and administrators has grown in popularity, but research has not shown a clear link between bonuses and improved student performance.

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